Labor of Love
I volunteer with a group of ladies at Star of Hope the second Wednesday of every month. We pamper the women at this homeless shelter with manicures, pedicures and a listening ear. When I sat down at the beginning of September to bust out a whimsical and charming email reminding the volunteers about our upcoming monthly commitment, I noticed that the message would be distributed on Labor Day. I decided to Google the term to see what popped up.
According to the completely reliable Wikipedia, Labor Day is a public holiday celebrated on the first Monday in September. It honors the American labor movement and the contributions that workers have made to the strength, prosperity and well-being of our country. We have President Grover Cleveland to thank for this much-needed day off, which is great because I always like giving shout outs to lesser known presidents.
Another thing with which Labor Day is associated is “retail sales in the United States.” I swelled with pride! At that moment, the “promotional” tab of my gmail inbox had 37 different organization offering free shipping if you spend more than $30. Huzzah!
Other than the eye-opening actual photos of real childbirth labor that somehow snuck into my search, I have to say that the weirdest auto-correct was “Labor of Love Star Trek.” Naturally, I had to click that link. Apparently the latest reboot of Star Trek (the one with the lovely Chris Pine) had a song by that name on the soundtrack.
That bit of news reminded me that Point of Grace sings a song of the same title on their “Home for the Holidays” album. I Googled “Labor of Love” and the following definition appeared on my screen:
“A task done for pleasure—not reward.”
This is how I feel about serving at Star of Hope. One of my favorite stories to tell about my time there is the one about the director who visited us while we were serving. She became emotional when she watched the women sit at the feet and across the table from the women who reside in her building. She was big and pregnant and I immediately became nervous thinking that she was about to birth her baby right then and there. I mentally thought about boiling water, ripping sheets and that I should have paid more attention to those pesky images in my “labor” search. Instead, I calmly asked:
Me: What’s wrong Melissa?
Melissa: How long have you been doing this?
Me: We’ve been coming about four years.
Melissa: I never thought you would last this long.
Melissa: Because no one ever does.
I’m going to let you marinate in the gravity of that last statement for just a moment. Read it again and think about what she’s implying.
I don’t have to tell you that consistency is a critical component of serving. As we gear up for another very busy fall, my hope is that you commit to serving your personal labor of love. Trust me when I say that you will get more out of the experience than those with whom you serve.
And for those of you who don’t have a regular place to serve, please take my birthday challenge. Nothing says, “I SEE YOU” like gifting someone with a random act of kindness!
“Just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as ransom for many.” — Matthew 20:28